Due to not having cable, I wasn’t able to watch the second season of Amphibia until it came out on Disney+ a little over a week ago. But man, was the wait worth it.
This second season builds on the world and lore of the swampy land of Amphibia. At the start we find Anne dealing with her feelings regarding her fight with Sasha as well as her and the Plantar’s journey to Newtopia where she reunites with her friend Marcy and meets King Andrias. Then we have Anne and company on a mission to recharge the Calamity Box’s gemstones so they can return home.
Meanwhile, throughout the season, Sasha and Grime plot to take over the whole of Amphibia.
And that’s without getting into the events of the finale.
Pacing (Episodic to Fast-Paced)
The first part of the season is very episodic. A lot of it, at first glance, comes off as filler as it mostly focuses on one-episode conflicts like Anne not trusting the Plantar’s house-sitter or her and Hop Pop abandoning Sprig and Polly so the siblings can work out their differences.
It was honestly a little annoying at first. They have to get to Newtopia, so where is the urgency? Is there going to be enough time to cover everything with these episodes spent on Hop Pop’s desire to be a professional actor or Polly wanting to be independent?
Then I remembered Kez’s immortal words, “It’s not about the desti-something. It’s about the whatever.”
These episodes were focused on the characters – and how they’re growing. There’s also a lot of foreshadowing, development, and just emotional moments that go into setting the last few episodes.
It all pays off – mostly in the end. I just wish things had been a bit more evenly paced.
The whole season can be divided into THREE distinct parts: Travel to Newtopia, Newtopia, and the Three Temples (with some Wartwood thrown in). It’s not a bad choice and certainly not a struggle when you can binge it – but it does lose out on the sense of urgency when you stop and have a Battle of the Bands competition as the season’s penultimate episode.
It just seemed a little off (though this is called out in-universe.) And the lack of urgency on parts of the characters makes more sense when you get a better understanding of the others’ (namely Sasha, Marcy, and Hop Pop) motivations.
But you would think Anne would be more in a rush – even though she’s come to love and care for the Plantars and would miss them when she leaves, she still wants to get back home. She’s been missing for MONTHS at this point – she surely must be homesick.
Which makes the return to Wartwood in the middle seemed kind of unnecessary;
I get that characterization was needed and they had to get the music box – but I feel like they spent a little too much time there. It was so lighthearted that it almost made me forget about the mission at hand, which isn’t great. But it did make the emotional moments of the finale hit all the more harder.
I just wish the tone had been evened out more -I think having the temples been a 3 part special would have given the season a little more impact rather than having the visits separated by a couple of episodes.
Just a thought.
We finally get to meet Marcy Wu after one and a half seasons of buildup. And we spent most of that time wondering what this mysterious third girl would be like. I don’t think many people predicted she’d be the awkward, nerdy one out of the group.
And it’s great.
Basically a child prodigy, Marcy has had a fun time in Newtopia, having improved the city, even getting a statue made in her honor. She’s klutzy and a bit oblivious to the world around her – but she seems to have thrived in Newtopia and doesn’t seem rushed to get back home.
And it’s interesting to see how Anne reacts to seeing her compared to how she interacted with Sasha. The two fall quickly back into their old dynamic – with both of them needing to confront their jealousy of the other’s abilities as well as recognizing how much they’ve each grown.
Unlike Sasha, Marcy is a sweet, but naive girl who doesn’t always consider others. Not because she’s a bad person, but because she gets distracted. This sometimes means she doesn’t think about her own safety either.’
She’s loyal to her friends – and it’s obvious she’s glad to be reunited with them both, but there’s still the issue of her being outside the shop while Anne stole the Calamity Box.
I almost expected her to be MORE mean that Sasha…that she was actually a master manipulator as well. But I guess that would have been boring. And besides, it turns out Marcy does have a big secret.
A major secret.
She’s the reason they’re all in Amphibia in the first place.
Marcy came across the Calamity Box in a book before finding out her family would have to relocate due to her father’s job. She’s the one who texted a picture of the box to Sasha, having found it in a shop, which is weird. And I’m sure those implications will be explored next season.
However – she’s not the one who convinced Anne to steal the box – and she had no reason to think it would actually work. But, she still pulled her friends away from their lives and she didn’t go searching for them while she was in Newtopia. She just assumed they were thriving and would find her.
But she’s sympathetic. She is manipulated badly by King Andrias, who wants to use the box for his own nefarious purposes. She never considered that he was a bad person. And when she tries to make up for her mistakes, she literally gets stabbed in the back.
And I thought Sasha’s almost self-sacrifice last season was dark
Dat Finale Though
A lot happens in the finale. It’s the busiest episode yet and I’m not exactly sure where to start. While the beginning makes sense, I think we have to get the biggest part out of the way.
Or at least seems to die.
King Andrias the ruler of Newtopia and all of Amphibia – stabs her when she tries to send everyone back home. But the intro for Season 3, which aired at the end of the episode shows her in some kind of healing tank, kept on life support.
I suppose Disney wouldn’t let them kill her off for good – but the implications are dark enough. Undoubtedly, Anne and Sasha are going to have to make some major choices when it comes to Marcy’s safety next season.
Anne also gets super-saiyan like abilities, seemingly connected to the Calamity Box. Likely because her gem was never fully charged, she retained some of her powers – and it’ll be interesting to watch her learn to control them.
I never expected her to get super powers but she’ll need them.
And not only does Marcy get killed but Sprig nearly dies.
Andrias drops him out of a window – but he’s saved. The fact that this show has had TWO people nearly fall to their deaths in its season finales makes me nervous for the series finale – no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be Anne who is falling.
And I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out.
Building to Something Bigger
With Anne and the Plantars on Earth, Sasha in Amphibia, and Marcy — presumably being “healed” by King Andrias for definitely not good purposes, the third (and final) season will have a LOT to cover.
Our only clues, for now, is the new intro – showing how Anne and company will have to avoid Earthly authorities which means lots of room for adventures on Earth, and some interesting interactions between the Boonchuys and Plantars.
With Anne’s super-Saiyan mode, coming from her connection to the Calamity Box, it would make sense the other girls would have had those abilities too – before they got drained. No doubt Andrias is going to try to use his technology to give Marcy her powers back, so he can use them to conquer all the worlds
We’re also presumably going to see what these other worlds look like, which will be very interesting indeed.
What next season will amount to will be nothing more and nothing less than a full-out fight for the fate of the multiverse, between 3 young girls and a powerful newt king. It will be a fight to remember.
Year of release: 2021
Length: 20 episodes. 22 minutes each
Creator/Executive Producer: Matt Braly
Producers: Jack Ferraiolo, Tara Badawy
Directors: Derek Kirk Kim, Bert Youn, Kim Roberson (supervising), Ian Worrel (art)
Voice Actors: Brenda Song, Justin Felbinger, Bill Farmer, Amanda Leighto